By Tony Gieske
You would never say that Sal Marquez was off the scene. He’d just be on some scene not yet up to you. So here he was now, and what a scene to be back on, at Spazio or wherever.
Rick Zunigar was playing a solo on guitar concerning “What’s New.” Bright ideas were flooding down like seagulls on a sandwich. He has absorbed much from his hero, Joe Pass. It was not terribly far from the sublime.
But then so was the output from Chuck Manning’s tenor, more high velocity goodies in a sound somewhere south of Stan Getz and north of Lester Young, in a room of his own.
Neither soloist asked quarter from the rhythm section, drummer Steve Hass and bassist Chris Colangelo, and none were they given. Tight but bumptious, these two stayed pure and musical.
Marquez called the plays after brief huddles with his bandmates, naming such rich and seldom mined veins as Joe Henderson’s “Ice Truck,” a jump tune, or challengingly familiar ballad fodder such as “If I Were a Bell.” A veteran of the bands of Frank Zappa, Buddy Rich, the Tonight Show and many other enviable gigs, he has plenty in his pantry.
On “Bell,” Marquez eschewed the approach of his one-time idol Miles Davis. Now he was cavorting all over on a foundation we used to hear under Freddie Hubbard. But Marquez’ sound is warmer, gentler and more thoughtful than in the past.
And he kept finding fresh paths past beautiful flowers, as did the rest of the players, converging often enough with each other to attain salutary bandhood.
Photo by Tony Gieske. Read and see more of Tony Gieske’s jazz essays and photos at his personal web site tonyspage.com.